Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 9: How to Handle Top Fringe Players This Weekend

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2013

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 12:  Dwayne Bowe #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks for running room after a third quarter catch while playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 12, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh won the game 16-13 in overtime.(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Every week fantasy football owners are faced with tough calls. Whether you're forced to decide between two productive players or going all-in on an relative unknown who broke out a week earlier, risk is unavoidable in fantasy.

However, owners can minimize risk by breaking down trends and matchups prior to setting their lineup.

Here, I'll highlight a handful of notable fringe performers coming into Week 9 and provide you with some helpful advice.

*Standard scoring statistics according to ESPN Fantasy.


Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints, RB

Sep 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas (23) against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Average Points: 7.0

Week 9 Opponent: at Jets

Coming off the Saints' bye, versatile running back Pierre Thomas touched the ball 17 times in Week 8 against the Buffalo Bills, picking up 94 total yards, including a season-high 65 on 14 carries, per The Buffalo News' Jerry Sullivan:

But even with New Orleans set to take on one of the league's best rush defenses this weekend in the New York Jets, Thomas is still a wise fantasy play. He's touched the ball an average of 21 times per game over the Saints' past two road games and lit up the Chicago Bears as a receiving back in Week 5, turning nine catches into 55 yards and two scores.

Watch for Thomas to carry the ball around a dozen times and be targeted as a receiver another five or six times on Sunday against New York.

Fantasy Play: Start


Running Backs
PlayerAverage PointsWeek 9 OpponentFantasy Play
Mike Tolbert, Panthers7.1vs FalconsStart
Lamar Miller, Dolphins6.4vs BengalsSit
Zac Stacy, Rams5.3vs. TitansStart
ESPN Fantasy


Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs, WR

/Getty Images

Average Points: 4.8

Week 9 Opponent: at Bills

Thanks to some underwhelming numbers through the first half of the season26 receptions, 302 yards and two touchdownsChiefs wideout Dwayne Bowe has become a forgotten fantasy performer. But don't expect him to be too worried as his team is sitting with the league's best record at 8-0.

While Bowe's two targets in Week 8 are disconcerting for his owners, there's good news for those looking to cash in on the veteran wide receiver in Week 9. 

Not only has he had more time to recover from a nagging groin injury, but Kansas City's opponents this weekend, the Buffalo Bills, are surrendering more touchdown passes than any other team in the league. Buffalo has given up 20 in eight games. No other team has allowed more than 16 touchdowns through the air in 2013.

Let's face it: Bowe isn't going to have a better chance for an explosive fantasy performance the rest of the way.

Fantasy Play: Start


Wide Receivers
PlayerAverage PointsWeek 9 OpponentFantasy Play
Nate Washington, Titans7.7at RamsStart
Brian Hartline, Dolphins7.4vs BengalsSit
Jeremy Kerley, Jets5.3vs SaintsSit
ESPN Fantasy


Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts, TE

Oct 14, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers safety Eric Weddle (32) breaks up a pass intended for Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener (80) during the second half at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 19-9. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hane

Average Points: 5.3

Week 9 Opponent: at Texans

Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener has been up and down this season and is coming off a relatively productive outing against the Denver Broncos prior to the Colts' Week 8 bye.

Unfortunately, the former Stanford pass-catcher will be up against the NFL's top defense in terms of fewest passing yards allowed in Week 9. The Houston Texans may be 2-5, but their secondary hasn't been playing like it thus far. 

The Texans are surrendering just 146 yards per game through the air and allowing an average completion percentage of 58.5. 

Keep in mind that Fleener was a dud his last time out on the road and in prime time, dropping multiple passes in a lackluster three-catch, 16-yard effort against the San Diego Chargers in Week 6. The Colts will be on the road against Houston on Sunday Night Football this weekend.

Fantasy Play: Sit 


Tight Ends
PlayerAverage PointsWeek 9 OpponentFantasy Play
Garrett Graham, Texans5.0vs ColtsSit
Dallas Clark, Ravens5.0at BrownsStart
Heath Miller, Steelers3.4at PatriotsSit
ESPN Fantasy


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